You might have noticed that this week is Refugee Week. The theme this year is you, me and those who came before, thinking about those who have come to the UK as refugees over the years and those who have welcomed them here across the generations.
There have been so many special events across this week and countless great programmes to watch or listen to and articles to read! But the week isn't over yet so we wanted to highlight a couple of things.
Firstly, Al Jazeera have shared a series of powerful stories from people who have claimed asylum here in the UK. This project was carried out in partnership with Manchester City of Sanctuary and many of the elements of these stories are sadly all too familiar to us. We've recognised at least one of our former Boaz clients who has been brave enough to share their experiences, so if you have time, please do click the links below to read more:
Secondly, here in Manchester, Refugee Week started with a campaign event highlighting the Lift the Ban Campaign, calling for people who are waiting for a decision to be given on their asylum applications to be given the right to work. In a meeting with local partner organisations yesterday, one of our clients shared how because he wasn't allowed to work, he felt he had lost his dignity and sense of worth as a human being, and he explained to us how much this has affected his mental and physical health. Several of our current and former clients have been involved in the Lift the Ban campaign, through the work of a local project Refugee and Asylum Seeker Voice (RAS Voice). You can find out more about the campaign by reading the free campaign pack here.
And finally... one of our final local Refugee Week activities is taking place on Friday and Saturday (21 and 22 June) in Manchester. Ben and Jerry's are building a Wall of Welcome, and as part of this they will be giving away free ice cream! You can find out more information here. In the words of Ben and Jerry, "What’s sweeter than people coming together, to say “we’re all equal, and we’re all welcome here”."